Mary Jo Polo, 90, of Kearney, Missouri passed away July 29 at Oak Pointe of Kearney. She was born March 14, 1932 to James Cooper and Charlotte Teal Cooper in Newton, Iowa.
Her parents both passed away when she was young and she lived several years in the home of an aunt and uncle near Russell along with two other siblings. As a junior in high school she went to live with her grandmother in Chariton. She graduated from Chariton High School in 1950 and went to work as a secretary at Steinbach Meat Company. On November 15, 1951 she eloped with Johnny Polo to Princeton, Missouri where the arrangements they had previously made went somewhat awry. They were finally married somewhere around 2 am on November 16 by a sleepy but patient Baptist minister. They were back home before dawn and did not make their marriage known until after Johnny graduated the next year. (But we are pretty sure Dad Polo knew.) They eventually bought a house in Williamson directly across from Johnny’s parents. On September 28, 1952 they left friends watching the Friday night fights at their home and hurried to Yoakum Hospital in Chariton where son John Michael (Mike) was born. Mary Jo was mother and homemaker until she took a postal clerk position at the Williamson Post Office in 1961. That eventually led to her being sworn in as postmaster in 1971. She served the community in that capacity until her retirement in 1992.
For a number of years Mary wrote and published a newsletter entitled The Williamson Highlights which had readership throughout the US and a few countries beyond. She loved the Williamson community and sought to keep people connected through the newsletter and an annual Williamson reunion.
Mary had embraced faith in Jesus after the family began attending the rural Whitebreast Church just west of Williamson in 1957. She and Johnny served in various capacities in the church over the years. They eventually felt God leading them to assist with the reopening of the Williamson Community Church and their later years were devoted to keeping the ministry of the church alive with the help of best friend Loretta Scott. Mary and Loretta taught Sunday School and ministered to the children of the community. Above all, she had a passion that children would know and love Jesus.
Mary’s last few years were spent at Oak Pointe of Kearney, an assisted living and memory care facility in Kearney, MO. It was near Mike and Pat and became a second family for them and Mary. She received quality and compassionate care for which we will be ever grateful.
Mary is survived by her son Mike and wife Pat; grandchildren Kirk (Dana), Kevin (Sarah), and Kara McBain (Josh); great-grandchildren DJ, Kyla, Ethan, Braden, Bailey, Lylah, and Cora Polo and Lily and Ava McBain. She was preceded in death by her loving husband of 65 years, her parents, and brothers Jim, Bob, John, and Larry Cooper and sisters Lillian Buzzard and Bonnie Geery.
Memorial donations may be made to Crossroads Hospice, 14310 E. 42 St. S#600 Independence, MO 64055.